Sung Communion at Central

The following article by our Minister appeared in the circuit newsletter, we thought we’d share it here as well:

We have developed over the last few years at Central a style which makes full use of the rubric of the Methodist Worship Book in the Holy Communion Ordinary 2 Service where it says “ musical settings other than those printed may be used” p198 MWB. At Central we often use the David Thorne St Thomas Mass setting for Holy Communion Services with a sung kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus & Benedictus, Acclamation and Agnus Dei. We also often use the items in the “liturgical settings” of Singing the Faith which have a variety of kyries, glorias, prayers settings and other short songs which can easily be used as sung response for prayers.
This style may be unfamiliar to many Methodists. The Book of Offices 1936 made provision for the Gloria “to be sung or said”- note the order of the wording, with sung been cited first as if it was the preferred option. Settings for sung responses to the Commandments were offered in the back of MHB.
Some Methodist Churches sang Morning Prayer each week with sung Benedictus, Te Deum and the appointed psalm and other churches sang the canticles and psalms to chants from the authorized hymn book or from other sources. Technically the Order of Morning Prayer was not part of the Book of Offices but the service was printed with it! This oddity illuminates our inter-twined nature with the Church of England as “mother” where singing such offices was the norm at that time. Using the authorized liturgy and additional material has always been part of the rich mix of Methodist worship.
So why not give it a go sometime? You could try something different at your church which might enrich the worship or you could join us at Central sometime and discover what we do. Methodist worship does not have to be boring or monochrome! It is possible to engage the whole congregation in participation other than speaking. Methodism was born in song after all.
Following on from Stainer’s Crucifixion being sung as part of worship on Palm Sunday we will have a different form of service with musical input led by John Bradbury and some choristers on Sunday 19 June in the evening.
We hope that something a bit different from the five hymn sandwich might be part of what we offer on a quarterly basis.

Christopher Humble